The Sunset Theatre, built during the depression, opened its doors December 6, 1934, in the old gold-mining town of Wells, set against the backdrop and rolling hills of the Cariboo Mountains. During the 1930’s, Wells boasted a population of over 4000 residents, but hard times diminished the population to just over 250 residents and has remained close to this even today. Only 8km from the historic town of Barkerville and 28 km from the world-renowned Bowron Lake, Wells is becoming a popular Tourist Destination.
Originally a movie theatre built in 1934, the Sunset has been a dance-hall, BC’s first gambling hall (the Dominion Club), and even a morgue. As the prospect of gold faded, so too did the town. Buildings sat empty awaiting their inevitable demise due to the harsh and unforgiving elements of the Cariboo. The Sunset Theatre was no exception. The Sunset Theatre has changed hands several times throughout its history and was operated by the Wells Historical Society for many years during the late 1970's through the early 80's.
In 1999 when the building was purchased by Karen Planden and soon after, along with her husband Dave and 4 children began the journey of restoring the theatre beyond its former glory offering professional live theatre, movies, boot camps and concert venue.
In 2006 the Sunset Theatre Society had its first inaugural season of programming but in the winter of 2009, after the majority of the renovations had been completed, the roof of the theatre had collapsed under the snow load. It was a devastating turn of events. With the help of the community, an incredible engineer and insurance the Sunset Theatre was saved and it raised the roof once again.